From: Peter Metcalfe <>
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 2000 17:20:56 +1300

Peter Larsen:

>As far as I know, the Middle East and surrounding areas to the West
>are the only place in the RW that developed letters. Every other
>system (that I know of) did not simplify to the letter stage before
>contact with the European tradition.

Why should scripts "simplify" to the "letter" stage? It's not an inevitable development and even in english, there are syllabic and logographic components within it.

Apart from logographic scripts of the Chinese, the Japanese and the Mayas, most other scripts use what else is there? The Indian Devanagari, being a mixture of syllabic and alphabetic principles, is ancestral to other scripts in SE Asia (as well as Tibet), and that was practiced long before the Europeans. Korean Hangul was also invented before the Europeans came. There's also Rongorongo.

The only post-European "simplification" that I know of is Vietnamese which switched from the Chinese to the Roman alphabet (and perhaps Turkish which changed from the Arabic to Roman alphabet).

> >The sacred alphabet appears in Fortunate Succession; presumably it's
> >Dara Happan.

>I know. I really don't like that alphabet; it has a Godlearnerish
>"everything descended from the runes" look to it.

Why shouldn't letters be descended from runes? Our alphabet is. FWIW given the transcription of foreign names (Oralanatus, Umatum etc.), Dara Happan might not be an true alphabet but a partial-syllabary.

>I still think the Dara
>Happa should have a complex sacred language that only the priests
>and scribes learn (plus something simpler for daily use -- the
>Egyptians had a system like this (well, over a few thousand years)).

The actual model is Mesopotamian which had a sacrosanct priest class and a lettered script (although this was largely cuniform).

>I still think the most obvious source of a written Orlanthi
>language is the EWF; the first homegrown Orlanthi system that
>needed a writing system (Beyond the essentially symbolic runes).
>Is there any good argument against this?

Dawn-age examples of Orlanthi Writing. The history of Dorastor

(D:LoD p5-16) mentions:
         - Records noting the discovery of humans in Aggar and Talastar
         - Writings left by Kalasmas the Settler about his explorations
          in Dorastor
         - Scholars discovering Kartolin Pass.

> >More likely it's self-consciously based on Pelandan, though I bet that
> >use of glyphs is more an affectation, or a sacred rite, than a day to
> >day practice, for which I think the Dara Happan alphabet seems likely.

>Well, shouldn't the differences between New Pelorian and Dara
>Happan reflect the exclusivity of the latter and the inclusivity
>of the former?

Because the difference in New Pelorian and Dara Happan is spoken. One doesn't invent a new script for a new (or previously unwritten) language but uses (or adapts) an old one whenever possible.

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